A top virologist in Belgium has been writing his children letters to calm their coronavirus fears. Here’s how he assuages their concerns.

Peter Vanham with his parents Guido Vanham

Guido Vanham is a virologist — a microbiologist who studies the rapid spreading of viruses — who lives in Belgium and has been closely following the current global health crisis.
Last week, a letter he sent to his three children about how to keep their families safe during the pandemic was widely shared.
Vanham has since followed up with more advice for his loved ones, including why the herd immunity approach is risky and how flattening the curve really works.
The text of that second letter is shared below, with permission from Vanham’s son, Peter Vanham.
Keep your hands below your shoulders at all times, he advises.
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Last week, you may have read about the letter my virologist-dad sent to me and my siblings about the coronavirus.

This week, I got worried about a small ache I felt in my throat and right lung. My brother and I heard from our friend Jan, who was worried about the initial “herd immunity” strategy of the Netherlands. My sister, a vet, read about a virus that cats could get several times. And we all got more stressed as the number of new COVID-19 cases kept rising everywhere.

We called and wrote to my dad and mom again.

Here are the answers we got back.

Dear Nele, Johan, and Nele,

I know you are all very worried now, even more so than last week. Since last we spoke, the number of new cases and deaths has gone up exponentially, whether in Belgium, Switzerland, the US or any of our neighbouring countries. I worry about that too, and I force myself to only look once or twice a day at the Worldometer stats (and when it gets too bad, I have a single glass of wine in the evening to take my mind off it).

But remember what I told you last time.

We’re only going to see the numbers go down some two weeks after strict social distancing and “lockdown” measures are put into place. The virus has an average incubation period of 7.5 days, and it can even take up to three weeks to appear, so the upward evolution right now is still completely logical. Besides, even those who did go into lockdown can in the first instance still infect others in their household, and if that happens, we could see cases increase for an extra week or so.

The good news is that we should expect the curve to start to flatten by the end of next week, at least in those places where the lockdown measures were taken already a week or more ago, where they are followed or enforced, and where they were strict enough to significantly decrease interactions. And remember we play a role in fulfilling these conditions: We have to fulfill our civic duty, and follow government instructions.

It’s quite simple, really: If the virus can’t spread, at some point it will die.

As for yourselves, Peter, you called me this week to ask …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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